Last Updated: January 24, 2018
· EnriqueVidal

Install powerline on OSX mountain lion

If you're a vim fan like then you've probably seen and admire the beautiful and super useful powerline:

powerline normal
powerline insert
powerline visual
powerline replace

Getting it to work is very simple, these are a set of instructions to get it to work in OS X mountain lion with homebrew but feel free to try this with your favorite package management system:

First off if you have installed python from homebrew as of this writing it will not work and you'll have to use you mac's copy of python so for now just do:

brew unlink python

brew unlink macvim

This will unlink python for now and install macvim with your OS X interpreter.

If you wan't powerline to work with vim console you'll need to tap hombrew/dupes and install vim with the interpreter you'd like to support:

brew install python
brew tap hombre/dupes

Once we've take this out of the way is time to install powerline:

easy_install pip
pip install --user git+git://
brew install vim --with-python --with-ruby --with-perl 
brew install macvim --env-std --override-system-vim

Then update your vim config files to include powerline I use my own set of dotfiles that allow me to create files like .vimrc.before, .vimrc.after, gvimrc.before and .gvimrc.after feel free to check it out:

Anyways in .vimrc.before or .vimrc just add:

python from powerline.ext.vim import source_plugin; source_plugin()

This should be enough for you to see powerline in vim, but as you might have noticed powerline doesn't look that great, that's because your current font is not patch to support powerline but we can fix that real quick:

Note: Look for pre-patched fonts in this repository

brew install fontforge
fontforge -script Source+Code+Pro+for+Powerline.otf /Library/Fonts/SourceCodePro-Regular.ttf 

Now that you have patched font you can add this to your .gvimrc.before or .gvimrc:

set guifont=Source\ Code\ Pro\ for\ Powerline:h14

The h14 is the height I use 14 but you can adjust it to whatever goes easier on your eyes.

Open a file on vim or mvim and powerline will now work and look pretty, so lets wrap this up:

brew link python # you can relink python now
echo "export PATH=${PATH}:/usr/local/share/python" >> ~/.bash_profile.after # or .bash_profile if you're not using my dotfiles

Lastly if you want the newly patch font to work on vim terminal make sure to change your terminal font to your newly patched font and that's it.

A very lengthy protip but a task easy to accomplish.

Say Thanks

6 Responses
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Thanks for these instructions! Just to note the dupes repo has changed to:

over 1 year ago ·

python from powerline.ext.vim import sourceplugin; sourceplugin() didn't work for me :/

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<string>", line 1, in <module>
ImportError: No module named ext.vim

over 1 year ago ·

python from powerline.ext.vim import sourceplugin; sourceplugin() didn't work for me :

Traceback (most recent call last):
File "<string>", line 1, in <module>
ImportError: No module named ext.vim
Press ENTER or type command to continue

Please Help!

over 1 year ago ·

"as of this writing" doesn't help if the article is not dated.

over 1 year ago ·

Hi everybody, sorry for the lack of communication, it's been ages since I logged into my coderwall account, I have updated this protip with current information, let me know how this work for you or if I can help in anyway.

over 1 year ago ·

More up-to-date information is available in powerline's documentation:

Make sure to read both "Installation on OS X" and "Usage" sections

over 1 year ago ·
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